Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote came to Miami in 1981, when her husband, Edward T. “Tad” Foote II, became the fourth president of the University of Miami. While President Foote set his sights on building the University’s academic and financial strengths, Bosey set hers on growing its natural beauty. She knew that the setting must contribute to the institution’s mission.
Working closely with Margaret Hatcher, Robert Parsley, and Geomantic Designs, as well as with the UM architecture and design faculty and buildings and grounds team, Bosey put herself into almost every leaf, blade, frond, and flower that now flourishes on campus. She was an ardent supporter of the University’s John C. Gifford Arboretum, a collection of rare plants and trees maintained for educational and research purposes and to inspire an appreciation for tropical vegetation. She opened a series of palmetums featuring palms and cycads from several countries. Her efforts continue to make buildings brighter, vistas more colorful and textured, and breezeways, walkways, and seating areas more inviting.
UM President Julio Frenk is pleased to present the Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize in her honor to a member of the UM community—faculty, staff, student, or trustee—who has made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the beauty, humanity, and future of the campus.
Nominations may be submitted for individuals or teams. One recipient (individual or team) is selected each year, demonstrating excellence in at least one of the following categories:
To submit a nomination, please send a nomination letter indicating the category, recipient or group name, and summary of nomination to VPHR@miami.edu.
Stephen D. Pearson, director of the John C. Gifford Arboretum, is the inaugural recipient of the Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize. Over the years, Pearson helped start the Tropical Flowering Tree Society and served as president of the Friends of Chapman Field. For the last 24 years, he has been a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Botanical Center. As Chairman of the City of Miami’s Beautification Committee, he led volunteers in planting flowering and native trees along I-95 and other highways in the early 1990’s. He has been honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Florida Urban Forestry Council and the National Outstanding Volunteer Award from American Forests and the National Urban Forestry Council.
Through his enthusiasm for preserving the history of our community’s natural environment, Pearson has created a peaceful oasis for meditation and relaxation on our campus. With a diverse and unusual collection of over 450 trees that spans every continent except Antarctica, the Gifford Arboretum is also a valuable tool for education and research.
“Real estate and business law was my profession, but horticulture and plants were my vocation,” says Pearson, who worked as a lawyer for most of his career.